Two overlapping recessions?

We may be in two simultaneous, overlapping recessions.  One will go away, but the other won’t.

I have two posts at my other blog, Outrun Change, discussing this idea of overlapping recessions:

I’m trying to move my discussions of massive change in the economy and the work world to my other blog.

Are you on the staff of a cruise ship or a battleship?



Elders, which are you on? Does your pastor know that you can tell the difference?

Dear beloved Pastors, which are you captain of?

Hat tip: CyberBrethern-A Lutheran Blog

Constant skill upgrade

The radical changes in the work world, which are very real today, are going to require constant upgrades to our skills.

The 9-10-11 edition of The Economist had a series of articles on the changing work environment. One article in particular, My big fat career, discusses the changes already underway.

One particular author, Lynda Gratton from the London Business School, suggests you will need to acquire a new skill or expertise every few years.  Continuous learning in other words.


Free agent status for everyone!

The world of work has changed. We are all free agents.

Even if we don’t change jobs or stay with one employer for decades, we are all now free agents.

That will be the theme of a series of posts. Probably the theme for a new blog, since those discussions will wander far away from issues of immediate interest to the nonprofit community.

What has happened?

The nature of work has changed.


Aircraft carrier as illustration of “overhead” needed to get something done

4,100 people work so 200 can fly.

In August, my wife and I toured the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum in San Diego. Quite a treat if you enjoy either airplanes or naval ships.

One narrative plaque really caught my attention. It quoted someone as saying that 4,100 people are hard at work onboard so 200 can fly airplanes. Since the purpose of the carrier is to put planes in the air, everyone else on board is in a ‘supporting’ function.

Seems to me that this is a good illustration of the concept of overhead or functional allocation that we work with in the nonprofit world.


Happy birthday to Nonprofit Update

It has been one year since I launched Nonprofit Update. On August 29, 2010 I started this blog to talk about issues affecting the nonprofit community. On October 14, 2010 I started moving topics of more interest to CPAs to a new blog, Attestation Update.

Many thanks to all who have stopped by to read!  This has been fun and I look forward to many more years of blogging.

Here are some stats from the first year for those who are interested in such things.

Number of posts: (more…)

It’s better to teach someone to someone to fish, but if you’re just going to give someone fish, at least you shouldn’t poison the village lake

The Apparent Project Blog explains the serous unintended consequence of giving help in Haiti while ignoring the economic context in their post Peanut Butter and Shelley.

Those of us in the West desperately need to understand the culture, economy, and local situation when we want to move cross-culturally. We can provide wonderful blessings but can cause harm without intending to.

I’ve discussed this in other posts: Does humanitarian aid actually help and how do we know? along with Cross-cultural partnerships.

Back to the situation in Haiti.

Some churches in the US are trying to help the hungry in Haiti by shipping huge quantities of peanut butter. Sounds like a great way to help since it is a superb source of protein – as good as pork for nourishment.

What do you think happens to the local economy if peanut butter and pork are major products? It can seriously disrupt the economy.


Private sector rocket launches will resupply space station

SpaceX will launch it’s first space shot on a resupply flight to the space station in late November.  NASA gave technical approval to the launch.

Why is this discussion in a blog about nonprofit issues? Three reasons.

First, is a superb illustration of stretching our brains. In the nonprofit sector we need to be intentionally thinking about the future. See my discussions here, here, here, here, here, and here.  Just the idea of private space flights will stretch our brain.


Space shuttle as illustration of opportunity cost and cul-de-sac

How to combine the idea of opportunity cost, cul-de-sac, and government overruns in one post?

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal editorial (behind paywall) says:

When it was first conceived, the shuttle was supposed to be a kind of space truck, going into orbit 50 to 75 times a year and carrying large payloads at a cost of $54 million a launch in 2011 dollars. It didn’t work out that way. The shuttle went aloft an average of five times a year. The cost-per-launch averaged some $1.5 billion. Its heaviest payloads barely exceeded what an unmanned Delta IV rocket can carry.

Let’s do some math, shall we?